The Sage biogas flow meter monitors gases from anaerobic, agricultural, or wastewater digesters and meets the demands of many protocols employed to measure, manage and report greenhouse gas emissions.

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Why is biogas production increasing?

digester from farming operation
Digester from a farming operation.

Humanity currently faces climate change. Worldwide, humankind creates waste, and as it breaks down, it produces methane. Methane, while natural, is a potent and destructive greenhouse gas (GHG) contributing to global warming. With the current drive to reduce emissions and reduce our use of fossil fuels, producing renewable natural gas (RNG) from waste is a strategy to help reduce fugitive methane emissions. Renewable natural gas (biomethane) is upgraded biogas. Initially, biogas was used to generate electricity or fuel for on-site use. Today much of the biogas is upgraded and introduced into the natural gas grid.

What is Biogas?

Biogas is any gas that derives from biomass sources in the absence of oxygen. The origins are typically food scraps, animal manure, and crop residues. Dairies and farms repurpose their organic waste to produce agricultural biogas. Organic waste at wastewater treatment plants creates wastewater biogas, and landfills generate landfill gas.

This creation process may occur in an anaerobic digester to produce the biogas (digester gas). Biogas is primarily a mixture of methane (about 70%) and carbon dioxide (about 30%). The complete biogas production process involves gas creation, cleansing, storage, and, ultimately, using biogas as a fuel source for heating or generating electricity.

Greenhouse Gas Protocols

There is a need to measure any resource throughout a typical process with any production. Additionally, many biogas recovery systems comply with various projects and protocols requiring measuring or monitoring greenhouse gas emissions. Project verification plays a vital role in upholding the integrity and quality of the data reported to mandatory and voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) programs worldwide. Here are a few protocols, though many others require measuring biogas.

  • The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) provides standards, guidance, tools, and training for businesses and governmental agencies to measure and manage climate-warming emissions.
  • The Organic Waste Composting (OWC) Protocol provides standards for quantifying and monitoring GHG reductions from projects that avoid methane emissions through diversion and composting of municipal food and food-soiled paper waste.
  • The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty adopted in 1997 to reduce gases that contribute to global warming.
biogas flow meter
The thermal mass flow meter is ideal for monitoring greenhouse gas emission reductions and satisfying regulatory protocols.

Challenges of Biogas Measurement

There are inherent challenges for any flow technology to measure biogas accurately:

  • Biogas composition changes based on the biomass source and can change over time with changing conditions in the digester tanks or landfills.
  • Biogas is dirty and often has high moisture content meaning that the gas can clog or gum up meters, particularly with moving parts, such as turbine meters, orifice plates, or averaging Pitot tubes.
  • Since biogas is generally low flow and low pressure, differential pressure meters are unacceptable since they require a reasonably significant differential pressure.

Sage Biogas Flow Meter

biogas application guide
Biogas Application Guide

The thermal mass flow meter has emerged as the most effective gas measurement technology for many biogas or greenhouse gas emissions applications. The Sage Paramount is an ideal biogas flow meter, whether a biogas application is in food processing, fermentation towers, or slaughterhouses. Measuring biogas flow at several points in a system provides operators with critical information for optimal gas production, control, and safety.

The Sage meter features ease of installation, accurate and repeatable direct mass flow measurement (no need for ancillary pressure and temperature devices), wide turndown, and built-in software verification for protocol compliance. Their ability to perform with extremely low flow (low velocity), typical of biogas, is unique to the technology. Sage’s innovative approach to contending with changing composition enables accurate and reliable measurement. To learn more, read our Biogas Application Guide, call us today or message us now.

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You may also be interested in:

Methane emission sources and monitoring to address climate change by Bob Steinberg of Sage Metering.

A Guide for Using Thermal Mass Flowmeters as a Biogas Flow Meter


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